As smartphone tech seeks new solutions to accommodate bigger and better screens, the foldable smartphone became an inevitable answer. We have been talking about Foldable phones for many years now, but it’s only now that they have gone mainstream. (हिंदी में पढ़िए)
There were numerous hurdles, but the foldable phones did make it to markets in late 2019. Samsung managed to retail more than 400,000 units of the 1st-gen Galaxy Fold in spite of the exorbitant price. It then marched ahead with a few more design updates and variations. Herein you will gain the details of all other folding phones from various other brands.
Judging by the enthusiasm towards this new phone form factor, we are optimistic that the trend will slowly but steadily catch on. That brings us to the question —
How’s the software ecosystem optimized for foldables?
Android has built-in ‘Screen Continuity’ support, and so developers won’t have to go through an awful lot of trouble to optimize their apps for foldable displays. Simply put, it’s the feature by which an app could smoothly and seamlessly transform to and fro the different screen sizes.
Google is already encouraging developers to add Screen Continuity, Multi-resume, and Multi-display support to their apps to make the transition to foldable phones smooth.
List of the Best Folding Phones to buy in 2021
Here’s a list of foldable phones that are already out or will be coming to the market really soon.
1. Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 5G
Galaxy Z Fold 2 is the second-gen Samsung foldable that seems to have refined most of the issues of its predecessor. The handset has a 7.6-inch QXGA+ (1768 x 2208) Dynamic AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate. This display called Infinity Flex Display folds in half and you get a 6.23-inch screen on the surface. That cover panel is bigger than what we had on the original. Turn on the screen, you would be greeted by the OneUI 2.5 based on Android 10 with tailored software tweaks.
The phone ships with Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+ SoC paired with 12GB of RAM and 512GB storage. The Galaxy Z Fold 2 comes with a 4,500mAh battery capacity.
The phone includes 6 cameras – On the rear, there is a 12MP (f/2.2) ultra-wide camera, followed by a 12MP (f/1.8) wide-angle camera, and a 12MP (f/2.4) 2x telephoto sensor; on the inner screen, there is a 10MP (f/2.2) camera; and finally upfront, you’ll get a 10MP (f/2.2) sensor.
2. Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5G
Riding high on the Galaxy Fold 2’s popularity, Samsung launched its 5G variant of its vertical foldable phone — the Galaxy Z Flip. It is a flip n’ fold clamshell, supported by the ‘hideaway’ hinge mechanism. Samsung touts varied use cases in different angles thanks to this joint.
It has got an ‘Infinity Flex’ AMOLED glass panel that measures 6.7-inches and is of 22:9 aspect ratio and 2636 x 1080 resolution.
It packs a Snapdragon 865+ processor coupled with 8GB RAM and 256GB internal storage. The internals also comprises a 3300mAh battery which supports 15W charging. The software is Android 10 (upgradable to Android 11) based One UI. Rest, you also get 5G, a USB-C port, a side-mounted fingerprint scanner, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0, and 4G LTE.
3. Moto Razr 5G (2020)
The second iteration of Motorola’s legendary smartphone the Razr brought back the good OG design, with some structural improvements, upgraded specs, and 5G capability. The new Razr has a 6.2-inch vertical Flip-View pOLED display with 876 x 2142 pixels resolution. At the top of this screen lies a notch wherein the phone’s 20MP selfie snapper resides. At the back, there’s a primary 48-megapixel rear shooter, which also substitutes the selfie action while the phone’s in its folded form. This one comes with Night-mode and AI enhancements.
The 2.7-inch gOLED cover display in the Razr’s folded state is called a Quick-View display. It’s used for peeking notifications, sending preset quick replies, control music playback, etc.
Inside it is running on a mid-range Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G chipset, with Android 10 on top. The Razr ticks on a 2800mAh battery that supports 18W fast charging.
4. Xiaomi Mi MIX Fold
Xiaomi’s Mi MIX Fold has got an inward folding design like the Galaxy Fold 2 and Mate X2. Inside lies an 8-inch flexible AMOLED panel with WQHD+ resolution (2480 x 1860), 60Hz refresh rate, 120Hz touch sampling rate, 600 nits peak brightness, Dolby Vision, and HDR10+. Flip to the front, and there you have a 6.5-inch AMOLED screen with 2520 x 840 resolution, 90Hz refresh rate, 180Hz touch sampling rate, 900 nits peak brightness, and HDR 10+ support.
Other highlights include Liquid Lens capable of going 3x optical zoom as well as close-up macros (3cm), a 108MP main camera, quad-speakers, a 5020mAh battery, a 67W turbocharger, up to 16GB LPDDR5 RAM, 512GB UFS 3.1 storage, and the flagship Snapdragon 888.
5. Microsoft Surface Duo
Microsoft Surface Duo is another device that comes with twin screens. This one doesn’t have a foldable display but brings together two different screens on either side of a patented and slim hinge that rotates 360-degrees. The idea of freely multitasking on two different screens simultaneously is thoroughly appealing, which makes the Surface Duo very exciting.
The Surface Duo is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 and features two 5.6-inches screens. It runs on a custom Android build made with Google.
6. Huawei Mate X2
The original Huawei Mate X unfolded to transform a regular rectangle smartphone into a large tablet. The subsequent Mate Xs was also a refined iteration featuring a sturdier ‘Falcon Wing’ mechanical hinge and stronger display. However, that changes with the Mate X2 which borrows the Galaxy Fold’s design, albeit with some changes.
Whence unfolded, there is an 8-inch screen with a 90Hz refresh rate and 2480 x 2200 pixels resolution. As for the cover display, you get a 6.45-inch primary display on the front with 1160 x 2700 resolution and a 90Hz refresh rate.
A quad-camera setup powered by Leica optics takes care of the rear photography. This includes a primary 50MP sensor (wide-angle lens), 12MP (3x optical telephoto lens), and an 8MP sensor (10x optical periscope telephoto), and finally a 16MP ultrawide snapper. For selfies, you get a 16MP shooter within a pill-shaped cutout.
The internal specs include a Kirin 9000 chip coupled with a Mali-G78 GPU, 8GB RAM, 256/512GB storage (further expandable up to 256GB via Huawei’s Nano MMC), and a 4500mAh battery with 55W fast charge support.
7. Royole Flexpai 2
Many wouldn’t know that it wasn’t Samsung or any other big shots, but Royole, a lesser-known Chinese company that launched the world’s first foldable phone named Flexpai. The tech community, however, was not impressed by the rushed-up barebone device. The brand then sometime later came out with the Flexpai 2. It bragged a better hinge design that was tested for 200,000+ folds. On top was a newly developed display called Cicada Wing that composed of 100 micro-nano particles. This was claimed to withstand bubbles, creases, and folding strain.
Other specs consist of a 7.8-inch panel in the unfolded state, quad cameras, 5G-capable Snapdragon 865, LPDDR5 RAM, and UFS 3.0 storage.
8. TCL Trifold
TCL showcased its trifold foldable concept. It principally is a 6.65-inch phone that unfolds into a full-size, 10-inch ‘tablet’. Yeah a full-fledged tablet, not a broader phone. This transition takes 3x unfolding. It employs the brand’s DragonHinge hinge. The displays are lit up by three batteries. It might be at the moment experimental due to the chunky profile (in the folded state) and an absent software solution. Still and all, it’s interesting and TCL should be able to find a way to make it feasible in the future.
A foldable future thus unfolds
The folding phones listed in this article:
- Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 5G
- Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5G
- Motorola Razr 5G
- Xiaomi Mi MIX Fold
- Microsoft Surface Duo
- Huawei Mate X2
- Royole Flexpai 2
- TCL Trifold
Any new technology would undergo some hurdles in the initial phase, but it looks like we are past the worst phase of foldables. As such, we look forward to more folding concepts from the smartphone world.